"Winter can be harsh, especially for those not prepared, and it has felt long this year, but it is still beautiful."
“Winter can be harsh, especially for those not prepared, and it has felt long this year, but it is still beautiful.”
By Korie Marshall

I was shovelling snow in the dark the other night and I was inspired – inspired by the beauty and strangeness of our world. Yes, it is both.

One of the things I enjoy about shoveling snow and splitting wood is that my mind can wander as I do the physical work. As I am releasing physical tension and energy, my brain tends to do the same thing, almost like dreams sometimes do, but with a bit more directed purpose. But the best thing about last night and our early March snowfall was the beauty of standing in the dusty light of a snowy evening, and playing with my dog. Winter can be harsh, especially for those not prepared, and it has felt long this year, but it is still beautiful. And it reminds me that although we sometimes need our own solitude, we are social creatures, and cannot survive alone. We need community.

I often wonder what life would be like on this planet if we didn’t have this strange little wobble that gives us the seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres. Who would we be if life was always stable, hot at the equator, cold at the poles, and gradual variations between? Where would the struggle of life have begun, that fight to make it through the cold winter you knew was coming, made the days shorter and the other animals hibernate or otherwise hurry away? Would the spring be as exciting and fresh if we hadn’t come through the cold and dark? Would we be who we are?

Many of us in our temperature controlled buildings forget that struggle, but also that joy. Living in the mountains has a way of reminding you, with storms and bad roads, with fires and creek floods and avalanche, that we don’t control a lot of what goes on around us. We can only try to understand, try to be prepared, and try to deal with what comes at us.

We are social creatures, and often that struggle to survive is not just with our environment – we have conflict with each other as well. Some conflict is bad, of course, but I am talking about the simple conflicts when we don’t agree with each other. I think that disagreement can be a good thing, because it is really only when someone argues that we recognize the other sides of a situation.

This may seem strange, but I hope to see some conflict and discussion around our Village’s budgets this year, because I think it is a good indicator of what is important to people. Looking at government budgets can seem boring, but they are a way of concretely expressing what is important to the government and what they think is important to the public they are trying to represent. In our local government, we can have a fair amount of say in what happens. Looking at the budget now, before it is finalized, is a good way to see what your local government is doing, and a good time to voice your thoughts on what you think should be happening.